A Historical Introduction to the Study of the Books of the New Testament

By George Salmon

Chapter 25


When I pointed out, at the beginning of the last lecture, that we had no right to be surprised if it should appear that, in respect of historical attestation, all the books of our Canon do not stand on the same level, I had chiefly in my mind the book on the discussion of which we are now about to enter the Second Epistle of Peter. The framers of the Sixth Article of our Church use language which, if strictly understood, implies that there never had been any doubt in the Church concerning the authority of any of the books of Old or New Testament which they admitted into their Canon. Their language would have been more accurate if they had said that they rejected those books concerning whose authority there always had been doubt in the Church. They had, no doubt, principally in view the apocryphal books of the Old Testament; and these books, not included in the Jewish Canon, were not only rejected by many learned men in the earliest ages of the Church, but the doubts concerning them were never permitted to be forgotten; for Jerome's prefaces, which stated their inferiority of authority, constantly continued to circulate side by side with the books themselves. At the time when our Articles were drawn up there was no serious controversy concerning the books of the New Testament, nor had there been any for some centuries before. But you will have seen that it would not be true to assert that there never had been controversy. Unfavourable opinions with respect to 2 Peter are expressed by Eusebius and Jerome.1 There were four of the Catholic Epistles which the early Syrian Church did not receive into its Canon, and a fifth which was not universally received elsewhere. Traces of this diversity of opinion are to be found for sometime, and especially where Syrian influence prevailed. Chrysostom, the great preacher of Antioch, never uses any of the four Epistles not included in the Peshitto;2 and I believe that the same may be said of Theodoret. Just towards the close of the first half of the sixth century, Junilius, a high legal official in the court of Justinian, turned into Latin, for the benefit of some African bishops3 who were his friends, a tract on the Scriptures by Paulus, a distinguished teacher of Nisibis, at that time a centre of Eastern theological education. In this tract books are divided into three classes, perfectae,  mediae, and nullius auctoritatis: the first being those which he sets down absolutely as canonical, the second those which he states adjungi a pluribus. In the first class he has fourteen Epistles of St. Paul (the Hebrews being last mentioned), beati Petri ad gentes prima, et beati Johannis prima. Then in the second class, adjungunt quam plurimi quinque alias, id est Jacobi, secundam Petri, &c. Kihn shows that the exclusion of James, as well as of the other four, was derived from Theodore of Mopsuestia. Junilius himself (ii. 17) quotes 2 Pet. ii. 4 as the words of blessed Peter without any sign of doubt. The tract of Junilius became speedily known to Cassiodorus, and thenceforward had con siderable circulation in the West. So late as the beginning of the fourteenth century, Ebed Jesu, a Nestorian metropolitan of Nisibis, has only three Catholic Epistles in his New Testament Canon (Assemani, Bill. Orient, in. 9).

Notwithstanding isolated expressions of dissent, the general voice of the Church accepted all seven Catholic Epistles; and this verdict remained undisturbed until the revival of learning. Then Erasmus on the one hand, Calvin on the other, express doubts as to 2 Peter. The latter, in the preface to his Commentary, shows himself much impressed by what Jerome had remarked as to difference of style from that of the First Epistle, as well as by other considerations leading him to think Peter not the author. But he says that, if the Epistle is canonical at all, Petrine authorship in some sense must be acknowledged, since the Epistle plainly claims it. And since the majesty of the Spirit of Christ exhibits itself in every part of the Epistle, he scruples to reject it, though not recognizing in it the genuine language of Peter. He is therefore disposed to believe that it may have been written, at Peter's command, by one of his disciples. And this is almost precisely the line taken by Erasmus. Later critics have taken even a more unfavourable view of the Epistle; and at the present day it is generally rejected even by the less extreme critics of the sceptical school, while its cause has been abandoned by some within our own Church.

I am not prepared to condemn those who do not pretend to have a stronger assurance of the genuineness of the book than had Eusebius and Jerome; but I may point out that its authority can well stand notwithstanding the fact that these eminent critics entertained doubts of it. We have just seen that to have been subject to early doubts is a lot which 2 Peter shares in common with four other of the Catholic Epistles; and yet, as respects them, we have found reason to think, not that the case for these Epistles was bad, but that the scrutiny to which they were subjected was very severe. With respect to early attestation, the case for the Epistle of James is little stronger than that for 2 Peter, yet I count that its authority cannot be reasonably impugned. I feel no doubt that the two minor Epistles of St. John come from the same hand as the First; though if we referred the matter to the judgment of early critics the decision might turn out the other way. The evidence of early recognition of Peter's Second Epistle is certainly weaker than in the case of most other New Testament books. Yet it is by no means inconsiderable; and at the beginning of this course of lectures I remarked how many classical books there are as to the genuineness of which we feel no doubt, notwithstanding the impossibility of giving proof of early recognition.

By the fifth century the authority of the seven Catholic Epistles, including 2 Peter, was acknowledged throughout the greater part of the Christian world; and I believe this to be true of the fourth century also; for I think that Eusebius and Jerome only express the closet doubts of learned men, and not popular Church opinion. In Jerome's case, what we know of his method of composition gives us reason to believe that he is rather repeating what he had read than stating the belief of his own time, or even his own deliberate opinion. For he elsewhere speaks of the Epistle without any doubt of its authorship (Ep. 53, ad Paul in. de stud, script.)4 and he offers the suggestion that the difference of style between the two Epistles might be accounted for by Peter's having used different interpreters5 (Epist. 120, ad Hedibiam, Quaesi, xi.). Jerome's friend Epiphanius uses the Epistle without doubt6 (Haer. Ixvi. 65). Didymus, the blind head of the catechetical school of Alexandria, has left a Commentary on the Catholic Epistles, preserved in Latin by Cassiodorus, all through which 2 Peter appears to be treated as possessing full canonical authority, until in the very last sentence we are surprised to read, Non est igitur ignorandum praesentem epistolam esse falsatam, quae licet publicetur, non tamen in canone est Some doubt is cast on this clause by the fact that in the work De Trinitate, which appears to be rightly ascribed to Didymus, he ten times quotes our Epistle as Peter s, without note of doubt (see I. xv. p. 303, Migne, and the passages referred to in Mingarelli's note). But the clause has all the marks of being a translation from the Greek. Non est ignorandum epistolam esse falsatam, probably represents, ἰστέον ὡς νοθεύεται ἡ ἐπιστολή (see Eus. ii. 23), and merely means that the genuineness of the Epistle was disputed.

That the opinion of Eusebius was unfavourable cannot be denied; but I believe that he, too, is but echoing the doubts of predecessors. We have every reason to think that in his own time the current of opinion ran strongly in favour of the Epistle. On the establishment of Christianity by Constantine, an active multiplication of copies of the Scriptures became necessary, both in order to repair the losses suffered under the Diocletian persecution, and to provide for the wants of the many new converts. And all the evidence we can draw, whether from existing MSS.,7 or from ancient catalogues of the books of Scripture, goes to make it probable that wher ever the production of a complete Bible was intended, it included the collection of seven Catholic Epistles, the exist ence of which Eusebius himself recognizes. These seven were owned as canonical by Athanasius and by Cyril of Jerusalem, both younger contemporaries of Eusebius.

Among the predecessors whose opinion had most weight with Eusebius was Origen, who (in a passage cited p. 290) attests both that the book was known in his time, and that its genuineness was disputed. I have remarked that Origen's immediate purpose in that passage would lead him to present the least favourable view of the genuineness of disputed books. In several places elsewhere Origen quotes 2 Peter without expression of doubt. It is true these quotations are all found in works only known to us through the Latin translation of Rufinus, whose faithfulness cannot be depended on; but, on examination of the passages, it does not seem to me likely that Rufinus could have invented them; and I believe the truth to be, that Origen in popular addresses did not think it necessary to speak with scientific accuracy. It is implied in this solution that Peter's authorship was the popular belief of Origen's time; and this is made probable to me by the fact that Origen's contemporary, Firmilian of Cappadocia, writing to Cyprian (Cyprian, Ep. 75), speaks of Peter as having execrated heretics, and warned us to avoid them, words which can only refer to the Second Epistle. We can produce no evidence of knowledge of the Epistle from the writings of Cyprian himself, nor from those of his predecessor Tertullian. I have mentioned (p. 478) that the Muratorian Fragment does not notice the Second Epistle, but that its equal silence concerning the First makes us unable to build an argument on this omission. But that 2 Peter did not form part of the earliest Canon of the Latin Church appears probable from the fact that it was not translated by the same hand as other of the Catholic Epistles. The same Greek words in i Peter and 2 Peter are rendered differently; as also the same words in the parallel places of 2 Peter and Jude.8

I must leave it undetermined whether or not Clement of Alexandria used the Epistle. When we have the testimony of Eusebius and of Photius (see p. 493) that Clement wrote comments on the Catholic Epistles, we seem to have no war rant for treating this as a loose way of stating that he commented only on some of them. Accordingly, Hilgenfeld and Davidson, although they both reject 2 Peter, yet believe that Clement commented on it; and Davidson suggests that Cassiodorus may have only been in possession of extracts from Clement's Hypotyposeis. But since I find in Clement's other writings no proofs of acquaintance with the two Epistles which Cassiodorus leaves out, I do not venture to assert positively that Clement's comments included these two Epistles.

Irenseus makes no express mention of 2 Peter, and he seems to exclude it by the phrase in epistola sua (iv. ix. 2), when he speaks of the First Epistle; but he has one or two coincidences with the Second, which require examination. And first we have twice The day of the Lord is as it were a thousand years (v. xxiii. 2, and xxviii. 3), words which recall 2 Peter iii. 8. But whatever may have been the ultimate source of this saying, it seems to me that in neither case vas Peter the immediate source from which Irenaeus took it. In the first passage Irenaeus reproduces an explanation by which Justin Martyr (Trypho, 81) reconciles the long life of Adam with the threat, In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. The words in Irenaeus are exactly the same as in Justin, ἡμέρα κυρίου ὡς χίλια ἔτη, not as in Peter, μία ἡμέρα παρα ̀κυρίῳ ὡς χ. ἔ.; and the use Irenaeus makes of the words being the same as in Justin, and not as in Peter, the former is clearly the immediate source of the quotation. In the second passage Irenaeus expounds the statement in Genesis that God completed His works in six days, as not merely a history of the past, but a prophecy of the future, intimating that the world was to last 6000 years, the day of the Lord being as 1000 years. The maxim is quoted in Justin's form, but the exposition had already been given by Barnabas (c. 15); and on comparing the passages it seems to me probable that it was to Barnabas Irenaeus was indebted for it. But though this maxim decides nothing as to Irenasus's knowledge of 2 Peter, it would be still more to the point if it showed that two earlier writers were acquainted with the Epistle. There is nothing to show whence Justin derived what he calls τὸεἰρημένο;9 but Barnabas enunciates the principle, a day with him is a thousand years, not as a quotation, but as a maxim of his own. And in proof of it he adduces αὐτὸς δέ μοι μαρτυρεῖ λέγων· Ἰδοὺ σήμερον ἡμέρα ἔσται ὡς χ. ἔ. This is clearly meant for a quotation of Ps. xc. 4; so that I fail to find evidence here of the antiquity of 2 Peter.10

The warnings drawn in succession from the history of Noah, and from that of Lot in Iren. iv. xxxvi. 3, have been thought to be an echo of 2 Peter ii. 5-8; but it seems to me that Irenaeus does no more than comment on Luke xvii. 26-31. I am much more struck by the coincidence that in speaking of the death of Peter (iii. 1), Irenaeus uses the word ἔξοδος employed by Peter himself (2 Peter i. 15). Some carry the argument further, and contend that the author of 2 Peter is proved to be the Apostle, because, when speaking of the Transfiguration, he uses the word tabernacle in immediate connexion with ἔξοδος, which is found in the same context (Luke ix. 31, 33). In this latter part of the argument I see no force, for it might as well be adduced to prove that the author of 2 Peter derived his knowledge of the Transfiguration from having read the Gospel of St. Luke. It is not certain whether in the passage of Irenaeus we are to render ἔξοδος decease or departure [from Rome]; but undoubtedly the word ἔξοδος came very early into the Christian vocabulary, expressing as it does the doctrine that death is no more than removal to another scene. We have, for instance, τὰ μαρτύρια τῆς ἐξόδου αὐτῶν in the history of the martyrdoms at Vienne and Lyons (Euseb.v. 1); and further on ἀγαλλιωμένη ἐπὶ τῇ ἐξόδῳ and ἐπισφραγισάμενος αὐτῶν διὰ τῆς ἐξόδου τὴν μαρτυρίαν. The word ἔξοδος occurs in the same sense in one of the best known passages of the Book of Wisdom (iii. 2); it is used in the same way both by Philo and Josephus, and you will find in Wetstein's notes on Luke ix. 31 a host of illustrations of the use of the word exitus for death, by Latin heathen writers. I feel, therefore, that it is precarious to build any argument on the use of so common a word; and, consequently, I cannot rely on any of the proofs that have been supposed to show Irenaeus's acquaintance with our Epistle.

On the other hand, there is a passage in the Clementine Recognitions (v. 12) which I have not seen noticed. We have only the Latin of the Recognitions; but unusquisque illius fit servus cui se ipse subjecerit looks very like the translation of ὧ τις ἥττηται, τούτῳ καὶ δεδούλωται (2 Peter ii. 19).11 Rufinus is the translator, and in one of his translations from Origen (In Exod. Horn. 12) we have unusquisque a quo vincitur, huic et servus addicitur. The difference of the Latin makes it likely that in both cases Rufinus is translating, not interpolating.12 Theophilus of Antioch, who died a little after 1 80, has a coincidence (ad AutoL ii. 13) with Peter's light shining in a dark place (i. 19). The words in Theophilus are, ο ̔λόγος αὐτοῦ φαίνων ὥσπερ λύχνος ἐν οἰκήματι συνεχομένῳ; while Peter describes the prophetic word as λύχνος φαίνων ἐν αὐχμηρῳ ͂τόπῳ; and these words in Peter may have been suggested by 2 Esdras xii. 42, sicut lucerna in loco obscuro, unless the obligation is the other way. This passage by itself would yield but doubtful evidence; but I am led to believe that it indicates a use of Peter by Theophilus, because close at hand there is another coincidence, οἱ δὲ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἄνθρωποι πνευματοφόροι πνεύματος ἀγίου καὶ προφῆται γενόμενοι (ad Autol. ii. 9);  ὑπὸ πνεύματος ἁγίου φερόμενοι ἐλάλησαν ἀπὸ Θεοῦ ἄνθρωπο(2 Peter i. 21). There also is a parallel to this last verse in Hippolytus (De Antechrislo, 2), but the resemblance is not close enough to be decisive.

Before the end of the second century the doctrine of the future destruction of the world by fire had become an established and notorious point of Christian belief. The heathen disputant in Minucius Felix (c. 10) says of the Christians:  toto orbi et ipsi mundo cum sideribus suis minantur incendium. Tatian (Or. ad Gr. 25), deriving his doctrine from Justin (Apol. ii. 7), contrasts his Christian belief with that of the Stoics; he holding, in opposition to them, that the world was to be dissolved, and the ἐκπύρωσις to take place not κατὰ καιρούς, but εἰσάπαξ. It is interesting to inquire whence, except from 2 Peter iii. 10-12, the Christians learned the doctrine. It is, indeed, found in the Sibylline Oracles (iii. 83-87; see also ii. 196, vi. 118); but it was not a general article of Jewish belief; for Philo, in his treatise De Incorruptibilitate Mundi, argues strongly against the notion, not as a Jewish, but as a Stoic one, that one element could swallow up the other three. Many parts of the Canonical Scriptures speak of fire as the future punishment of the wicked; but I do not remember any other place where it is said that the whole world itself shall be burned up. Now, Dr. Gwynn has pointed out what I believe to be a real use of 2 Peter in 2 Clement 16: ἔρχεται ἤδη ἡ ἡμέρα τῆς κρίσεως ὡς κλίβανος καιόμενος, καὶ τακήσονταί τινες τῶν οὐρανῶν, καὶ πᾶσα ἡ γῆ ὡς μόλιβος ἐπὶ πυρὶ τηκόμενος, καὶ τότε φανήσεται τὰ κρύφια καὶ φανερὰ ἔργα τῶν ἀνθρώπων. The Old Testament passages here employed (Mai. iv. i, Is. xxxiv. 4) would not suggest a burning up of the world to one not familiar with the doctrine before. But it is the last clause which seems to establish a use of 2 Peter. There, after phrases nearly identical with πυρὶ τηκόμενος, we have, according to the best attested reading, γῆ καὶ ἐν αὐτῇ ἕργα εὑρεθήσεται. The last word has puzzled interpreters and transcribers; but it seems to me probable that 2 Clement so read 2 Peter, and that he explains the clause by τότε φανήσεται τὰ ἔργα τῶν ἀνθρώπων.

There are phrases both in Clement of Rome and in Hermas which recall 2 Peter (for instance, μεγαλοπρεπὴς δόξα, 2 Pet. i. 17, Clem, ix.); but in neither case can we be sure that the coincidence is more than accidental. On a review of the whole external evidence we find clear proof that 2 Peter was in use early in the third century. With regard to second century testimony, the maintainers and the opponents of the genuineness of the Epistle make it a drawn battle. There is no case of quotation so certain as to constrain the acknowledgment of an opponent; but there are probable instances of the use of the Epistle in sufficient numbers to invalidate any argument against the Epistle drawn from the silence of early writers. But on comparing the evidence for the First and Second Epistles we have to own, however we are to account for it, that for a considerable time the latter had a much narrower circulation than the former, and was much slower in obtaining general recognition.

Grotius suggested as an explanation of this difference that our Epistle was written, not by Peter the Apostle, but by Symeon, who succeeded James as Bishop of Jerusalem. It is to be remarked that, whereas the First Epistle begins Peter/ the Second begins Symeon [or Simon] Peter. This has been made an argument against the genuineness of the Epistle; but the opposite inference is more natural. For the writer of the Second Epistle knew of the First (iii. 1); and if he were a forger, it is surprising that he should not conform to the model he had in his hands; and when professing to write to the same people, should neither copy the address of the former Epistle, nor even write the Apostle's name the same way. This point deserves to be borne in mind when coincidences between the two Epistles are explained as arising from designed imitation on the part of the writer of the Second. For if this writer were a forger, he was certainly a very careless one, who took little pains to give probability to his work by imitation of the genuine work in his possession. But, to return to the conjecture of Grotius. This cannot be upheld, unless we combine it with arbitrary and unwarrantable changes in the text of the document we are considering. For nothing can be plainer than that the document, as it stands, professes to come from Peter the Apostle. Not merely does the author call himself Peter in his salutation: he professes to have been a witness to the Transfiguration (i. 18); he claims to be the author of the First Epistle (iii. 1); he sets himself on a level with Paul (iii. 15); and he refers (i. 14) to his death as foretold by our Lord, this being probably an allusion to His words recorded John xxi. 18.

It has been made an objection to the genuineness of the Epistle, that the writer should betray such anxiety to identify himself with the Apostle. On the other hand, it has been replied with perfect truth, that this Epistle puts nothing into the mouth of Peter which the Apostle might not naturally have said in a real letter. I am disposed to attribute this much weight to the objection that, though it yields no argument against the genuineness, it deprives us of an argument for it. In the case of most New Testament books, when we test by internal evidence the traditional account of their authorship, we find reason to conclude that the documents are both like what might have been written by the reputed authors, and very unlike the work of a forger. In the present case we must own that a forger, no doubt, would be likely to take pains to make the Petrine authorship plain; but it would be absurd to deny that Peter himself might also leave on his work plain traces of his authorship. As for the reference to Paul; since we have seen that Peter in his First Epistle makes silent use of Pauline letters, there is nothing strange in his mentioning them by name in the Second.

It will seem to many that at the point at which we have now arrived our inquiry might well close. For if we proceed we are brought to a very painful alternative. In the case of the Epistle to the Hebrews, we can treat its authorship as an open question, notwithstanding that it has so long passed in the Church as Paul s, and that the Liturgy of our own Church recognizes the claim. For that Epistle itself does not profess to be Paul s, so that we can believe those to be mistaken who took the work for his, and yet impute no dishonesty to the author. But here we have only the choice to regard the Epistle as the work of Peter, or else as the production of a forger, who hoped to gain credit for his work by dishonestly affixing to it the Apostle's name. Some who impugn the Petrine authorship desire to let us down gently, and deprecate the employment of the word forger overtaxing the resources of the English language to find some name, pseudepigrapher, or falsarius, which shall sound less harshly. But I must call a spade a spade. Macaulay is not to be called a forger, though he gives the title The prophecy of Capys to a prediction which Capys never delivered. But where there is intention to deceive, forgery is the proper word. I do not deny that a fault may be less deserving of censure if committed by one of lower moral culture. The man who thinks a pious fraud permissible may deserve to be beaten with fewer stripes than he who acts against his conscience in committing it. Whoever the author of this Epistle was, he was clearly a pious and orthodox man; and if he was a forger, we can discern no motive for the forgery but that of supporting the disciples under the trial to their faith caused by the delay of their Master's promised coming. In the case supposed, there fore, we can judge with all leniency of the author; but I am sure he would have been much ashamed if he had been found out at the time, and would have fared no better than the presbyter who was deposed for forging the Acts of Paul and Thecla (see p. 357). The use of gentle language, then, will do little to mitigate the pain we must feel, if what we have been accustomed to regard as the utterances of an inspired Apostle should turn out to be the work of one for whom our merciful consideration must be implored, on account of his imperfect knowledge of the Christian duty of absolute truth fulness.

To many the question will seem to be settled by a reductio ad absurdum, when it has been pointed out that the rejection of the Petrine authorship obliges us to believe that the Church has been for centuries deceived by a false pretence to inspiration. But as I have undertaken to make a historical investigation, in the same manner as if we were making a critical inquiry into the authorship of any classical writings, my plan precludes me from assuming that the Church could make no mistake in such a matter. And indeed it would evidently require longer discussions than can be here entered into before we could establish the principle proposed to be assumed or ascertain its necessary limitations. Anyone who uses the Revised New Testament must reject a good deal of what has been long accepted as inspired. To many pious men of old it seemed a shocking thing when the divine inspiration was denied of the Greek Old Testament, which the Apostles had committed to the Church. We do not receive the decisions on the Canon made at Carthage or at Trent, not believing that the opinions as to the authority of Greek and Hebrew books, expressed by men who had little or no know ledge of the languages in which they were written, can become binding on us by the fact that they have been accepted by men equally unlearned. And our acceptance or rejection of the Apocalypse does not depend on our ascertaining whether or not the book was included in the Canon of Laodicea. If it seem to us that God must have miraculously interfered in the fifth century, had it been then necessary, in order to prevent an uninspired book from being accepted as inspired, there seems an equal necessity for miraculous interference in the two previous centuries to prevent an inspired book from being rejected as spurious, by men whose souls were as dear to God as those of their posterity. I confess my inability to find out by the high priori road in what way God must deal with His Church; and I have faith to believe that the course by which He has actually guided her will prove to be right, even though it do not agree with our pre conceptions.

Proceeding, then, with the inquiry, we have to notice the use made of Jude's Epistle. The coincidences between the second chapter of 2 Peter and the Epistle of Jude are so numerous, that it is beyond dispute that the one writer used the work of the other. I have carefully read the very able argument by which Professor Lumby, in the Speaker's Commentary, maintains the priority of Peter's Epistle. But I am unconvinced by it, and adhere to the opinion of the great majority of critics, that the priority rests with Jude. To take but one example: instead of regarding the verse in which Jude speaks about the body of Moses to be, as Professor Lumby holds, an expansion of the corresponding verse in Peter, I think the latter verse is scarcely intelligible if we had not in Jude the explanation what was referred to. But is there anything inadmissible in the supposition that one Apostle should use the work of another? I have already observed that Peter in his First Epistle certainly uses the Epistle to the Romans, a work which we need not doubt was in his readers hands. Why should he not here make still larger employment of Jude's Epistle, a work which (as we may infer from the copiousness of his use) he judged to be not likely to be known to his readers. In early times there was far less scruple about unacknowledged borrowing than at the present day. At the present day, indeed, in addresses not intended to go beyond the immediate audience, a speaker has not much scruple in using words not his own if they best ex press his ideas, and if they are not likely to be familiar to his hearers. Before the invention of printing, each writer must have felt himself to be addressing a circle nearly as limited as that addressed by a preacher of the present day, and could not count that things he had read himself would be likely to be known to his readers also. And since an Apostle's letters were not prompted by vanity of authorship, but by anxiety to impress certain lessons on his readers, I do not see why he should have thought himself bound to abstain from using the words of another, if they seemed to him most likely to make the impression he desired.13 But what strikes me as really remarkable is the great freedom with which Peter uses the work of his predecessor. In some places we might imagine that the two writers were translating independently from the same Aramaic, if the coincidences in the Greek of other places did not exclude that supposition. The variations are at times so considerable as to make us doubt whether Peter could have had Jude's Epistle before him when he was writing. And the idea even occurs whether it may not possibly be that Peter was writing from recollection, not of what he had read, but of what he had heard. I may mention one difference between the parallel passages in Jude and in 2 Peter, that whereas in the latter the censures are plainly directed against false teachers, this is not clearly so in Jude, where, for all that appears, the objects of censure may be only men of corrupt heart who somehow had found their way into the Church, but whose immoral lives showed that they ought never to have been admitted (see p. 525).

I come now to the objection noticed by Jerome, founded on the difference of style between the two Petrine Epistles. And it must be admitted that such a difference exists. It does not count for much that the Second Epistle contains many unusual words, for it has not more than its fair proportion of ἅπαξ λεγόμενα. Leusden14 counts 1686 in the whole N. T., or about one word in three; for he computes the whole vocabulary as limited to 4956 words. Of these ἅπαξ λεγόμενα, there are fifty-eight in 1 Peter, and forty-eight in 2 Peter, numbers which fairly correspond to the lengths of the two Epistles. But the following points of dissimilarity have been noted: (a) the Second Epistle differs from the First in fondness for repetitions of words and phrases: thus, δωρέομαι, i. 3, 4; ἀπώλεια, ii. 1 (bis), 3, iii. 7, 1 6; δίκαιος i. 13, ii. 7, 8 (bis); (φθορά, φθείρειν, i. 4, ii. 12 (ter.), 19; προσδοκᾶν, iii. 12, 13, 14; σπουδή, σπουδάζειν, i. 5, 10, 15; iii. 14, μισθὸς ἀδικίας, ii. 13, 15. (b) The particles connecting the sentences are different, particles such as ἵνα, ὅτι, οὖν, μέν, which are common in the First being rare in the Second, in which we find instead sentences introduced with τοῦτο, or ταῦτα: see i. 8, 10; iii. n, 14. (c) A use of ὡς, which is common in the First Epistle (i. 13, 19, ii. 2, &c.), is rare in the Second; where, on the other hand, we have a common formation of a subordinate clause with the preposition ἐν and a substantive (e.g. τῆς ἐν ἐπιθυμίᾳ φθορᾶς, 1.4), of which there is but one doubtful instance (i. 14) in the First Epistle, (d) The First Epistle makes much more use of the Old Testament language. In Westcott and Hort's table (ii. 180) are enumerated thirty-one O. T. quotations in 1 Peter, but only five in 2 Peter, and these disputable, (e) Σωτήρ is frequently used in 2 Peter as a title of our Lord, παρουσία, of his second coming, the word ἐπίγνωρις is common, &c., none of which words occur in 1 Peter. But in these instances the usage of 2 Peter well agrees with that of the Pauline Epistles, and we have seen that the use of Pauline diction is a characteristic of the First Epistle. With respect to the paucity of Old Testament quotations, it may be observed that there are no such quotations in St. John's First Epistle, though it is admittedly by the same hand as the Gospel, which quotes the Old Testament largely.

On the other hand, Professor Lumby brings out with great ability, in an argument which will not bear abridgment, the features of resemblance between the two Epistles (Speaker's Commentary, p. 228); see also Davidson, ii. 462, from whose list of coincidences I take the following: ἀρετή, of God (1 Pet. ii. 9; 2 Pet. i. 3); ἀπόθεσις (1 Pet. iii. 21; 2 Pet. i. 14); ἄσπιλος καὶ ἄμωμος (1 Pet. i. 19; 2 Pet. iii. 14: see also 2 Pet. ii. 13); ἐποπτεύειν, ἐπόπτης (1 Pet. ii. 12, iii. 2; 2 Pet. i. 16) πέπαυται ἁαρτιας (1 Pet. iv. 1: cf. 2 Pet. ii. 14). None of the above words or combinations occurs elsewhere in N. T.15 When it is proposed to account for these resemblances by the fact that the author of the Second Epistle was confessedly acquainted with the First, we must bear in mind what has been already said as to his little solicitude about designed imitation. It is to be remarked also that these resemblances are not conspicuous, or associated with repetitions in 2 Peter of the ideas of i Peter, as they would be if produced by design. And if it is urged that the resemblances are few, there remains St. Jerome's way of accounting for the absence of greater similarity of style between the two letters, viz. that Peter might have employed a different secretary on each occasion.

In this connexion I mention some of the coincidences noted by Professor Lumby (Speaker's Commentary, p. 226) between 2 Peter and Peter's speeches in the Acts: λαγχάνω, for to obtain (Acts i. 17; 2 Pet. i. 1); εὐσέβεια, in a peculiar sense (Acts iii. 12; 2 Pet. i. 7);  εὐσεβής (Acts x. 2, 7; 2 Pet. ii. 9); ἅνομα, of things (Acts ii. 23; 2 Pet. ii. 8); φθέγγομαι, to speak; (Acts iv. 18; 2 Pet. ii. 16, 18); ἡμέρα κυρίου (Acts ii. 20; 2 Pet. iii. 10); μισθὸς τῆς ἀδικίας (Acts i. 18; 2 Pet. ii. 13, 15); ἐπάγειν (Acts v. 28; 2 Pet. ii. 1, 5); κολάζεσθαι (Acts iv. 21; 2 Pet. ii. 9). Only one of the above occurs elsewhere in N. T. I add as an indication of early date another coincidence with the Acts the frequent metaphorical use of ἡ ὁδίς (Acts xviii. 25, xix. 9, &c.; 2 Pet. ii. 2, 15, 21).

Dr. Ed win Abbott has founded (Expositor, 1882, in. 204), on the style of 2 Peter, anew argument against its Petrine origin. He contends that the style is not only unlike that of the First Epistle, but also in itself so ignoble as to be unworthy of an Apostle. He had met in an Indian newspaper with some choice specimens of Baboo English, in which the author aimed at the use of very fine words, but made himself ridiculous in the attempt by a constant violation of the usages of the language. This suggested to him that the Greek of 2 Peter might be described as Baboo Greek, full of pedantic out- of-the-way words, and of words improperly used; and while thus exhibiting an attempt at fine writing, really so barbarous in its style as to be almost unintelligible.16 I am not concerned to defend the goodness of the Greek of the Epistle, but we have cause to suspect that Dr. Abbott must have much exaggerated its badness when we find that of the Greek fathers whether of those who accepted the Epistle, like Athanasius; or of those who rejected it, like Eusebius none seems to have made the remark that its Greek is absolutely grotesque and ridiculous. In respect of Greek we are all, more or less, Baboos; so that if 2 Peter be written in Baboo Greek, it is odd that it should have been left for a Baboo to find it out.

But if Dr. Abbott had completely proved his case it would have little bearing on the question of the authorship of the Epistle. Those who contend for the Petrine authorship would feel it cost them nothing to admit that Peter was not a good Greek scholar. In fact there are many who have inferred from Papias's mention of Peter's interpreter, that that Apostle did not know Greek at all. Still less difficulty would they have in admitting that Peter's interpreter, though probably possessing sufficient knowledge of Greek for colloquial purposes, was unskilful in the literary use of the language. Everyone writing in a language that is not his own is liable to make mistakes. When he has attained so much proficiency as to be able to avoid offences against grammar, a foreigner will still betray himself by a wrong vocabulary, from time to time using words in a way that a native would not employ them.

As far, then, as the question of authorship is concerned, the only one of Dr. Abbott's allegations which needs to be attended to is that the Epistle displays such ignobility of thought as to be unworthy an Apostle; but this is sufficiently refuted by the fact that in order to make the Epistle contemptible, Dr. Abbott found it necessary to make a new version of it. We thus see that its faults, if faults there are, lie in the language, not in the thoughts. Done into such English as that of the Authorized Version, we all feel its grandeur and power. But no translation could confer these qualities on it if it were the poor stuff Dr. Abbott thinks it.

It remains to examine a much more serious assault by Dr. Abbott on the Epistle. He undertook to prove (Expositor, Jan. 1882) that the writer borrowed from the Antiquities of Josephus, a work only published A.D. 93; and, if so, it is clear that the borrower could not be St. Peter. I can honestly say that I am conscious of no prejudice such as would preclude me from giving a candid consideration to Dr. Abbott's proofs. I had no such stubborn belief in the Petrine authorship of the Epistle as would render me incapable of giving a fair hearing to opposing evidence. Though each of the objections brought against the Petrine authorship admitted of an answer, yet their combined effect produced a sensible impression on me; and one difficulty in particular I felt very much. If I am right in thinking that the First Epistle was written after the breaking out of the Neronian persecution, and if St. Peter died during the reign of the same emperor, no very great interval of time could have separated the two Epistles. How is it then that the Second should not only differ a good deal from the First in its style and in its topics the perils which threatened the Church at the time of the First Epistle seeming to be mainly persecution from with out; at that of the Second, corruption from within but, though addressed to the same people, should differ also in the fate of its reception; the First becoming rapidly known all over the Christian world, the Second so little circulated as apparently to run some risk of suppression?17 We can give conjectural answers to this question; but there remained enough of doubt as to their correctness to make me willing to sympathize with Olshausen, who says: Sentio profecto certis argumentis nee genuinam nee adulterinam originem epistolae posse demon strari. Rationibus autem subjectivis fultus authentiam epis tolae persuasum habeo. But subjective reasons must give way to proofs; and Olshausen properly adds, nisi res novas ex historia vel ex indole epistolse inveniantur ad litem dirimendam aptiores quam hucusque proponebantur. Such res novae seemed to be offered by Dr. Abbott; and if his arguments forced me to give up a long-cherished belief, I should at least have the satisfaction of seeing clear light cast on a much-disputed question. I therefore read Dr. Abbott's Paper without having made up my mind beforehand that he must be wrong; and I was much impressed by the case he seemed to make out of a borrowing from Josephus on the part of the writer of our Epistle. It was not until I care fully examined the matter for myself that I arrived at the conviction that Dr. Abbott's discovery was merely that of a mare's nest.

Archdeacon Farrar, indeed, says (Expositor, in. 403) that Dr. Abbott has proved beyond all shadow of doubt that Josephus and the writer of the Epistle could not have written independently of each other; and that it would be impossible for him to feel respect for the judgment of any critic who asserted that the resemblances between the two writers were purely fortuitous; and that, were the question unconnected with theology, no critic could set aside the facts adduced with out being charged with a total absence of the critical faculty. So he leaves us, as the only way of maintaining the Petrine origin of our Epistle, the not very hopeful line of defence that Josephus borrowed from 2 Peter. It really requires some courage,18 in the face of so magisterial a decision, to give utterance to the opposite conclusion at which I myself arrived; but I cannot help thinking that the Archdeacon would have expressed himself less confidently if he had acted on Routh's golden rule, Always verify your references. For anyone who merely looks at the coincidences, as set forth in the clever way in which Dr. Abbott has arranged them, will easily arrive at Archdeacon Farrar's conclusion, that there has been borrowing on one side or the other; but if he goes to Josephus and looks at the passages in situ, he finds that one might read them over a dozen times, as for centuries so many have done, without ever being reminded of 2 Peter.19

The first thing that strikes one on a comparison of the passages is, that the alleged coincidences relate entirely to words, and not at all to the thoughts. Josephus and 2 Peter have quite different ideas to express, and what is asserted is, that in doing so they manage to employ several identical words. Now the case is just the reverse, where we have real literary obligation, as in the instance of 2 Peter and Jude. There the imitation is shown chiefly in matter; in words very much less.

But Archdeacon Farrar states that the two documents have in common words in some instances not only unusual but startling, words which are in some instances hapax legomena, occurring together in much the same sequence and connexion in passages of brief compass. On all these points I take issue with him.

(1) They do not occur in passages of what I should call brief compass. The words common which come so close together in Dr. Abbott's report of the evidence lie well apart in the respective authors. Dr. Abbott gives a list of thirteen words common; but these are taken from a folio page of Josephus, and range from i. 3, to iii. 16, in 2 Peter.

(2) They are not in the same sequence and connexion. The words common which Dr. Abbott letters from a to h appear in Josephus in the order, a, g, f, b, h, c, d, e; in 2 Peter in the order, g, c, d, b, h, e, f, a. The case, then, is as if one finding two pieces of stuff of different patterns and material should fix on some flowers or the like, occurring here and there in each: should cut up both into scraps, construct a patchwork out of each, and then say, How like these pieces are to each other.

(3) But the most important point of all is, that the words common are not unusual or startling, or such as can fairly be called * hapax legomena? I cannot but think that Arch deacon Farrar, not having looked into the matter for himself, jumbled up in his mind the two counts of Dr. Abbott's indictment, that 2 Peter employs unusual and startling words, and that he copied from Josephus. Dr. Abbott himself con fesses with the utmost naïveté (p. 211) that in those parts of 2 Peter, where the unusual and startling words are found, there is not a trace of obligation to Josephus; in other words, that if we find in 2 Peter a word likely to have fastened itself on anyone's memory, it was not from Josephus he got it. And this is not at all surprising, for Josephus is a commonplace writer, in whom many startling and unusual words are not to be found. In the case of real borrowing between Peter and Jude, some of the words which are common are very striking ones.

Now, when we are examining whether one writer is under literary obligation to another, everything turns on whether the phrases common are unusual, or such as two writers might independently employ. What first roused my distrust of Dr, Abbott's argument was the total want of discrimination with which he swells his list of proofs with instances which prove no more than that the writers compared both wrote h Greek. He asks us (p. 54) to accept as a proof that one writer copied from another that, in speaking of the rising of a heavenly body, both use the verb ἀνατέλλω; and (p. 57) in considering whether 2 Peter copied Josephus, he asks us to give weight to the fact that in speaking of the Divine power both employ the word Suva/us. This reminds us of the change (see p. 351) that Luke was indebted to Josephus for his knowledge of the words τύπτω and παῖς. It is clear that if we are to arrive at any trustworthy conclusions we must begin by weeding out from Dr. Abbott's lists words too common to afford any proof of literary connexion.

But in deciding what words are to be so regarded, there is a question of principle to be settled. Dr. Abbott allows that if words common to Josephus and Peter are also found in the LXX we cannot treat them as unusual words, being bound to acknowledge that if Peter borrowed them at all, he may have taken them from the LXX. and not from Josephus. Dr. Abbott then proceeds to argue: Since if one of these common word; is found in the LXX., we cannot build an argument on it; therefore, if it be not found in the LXX., we can. And accordingly he classes such a common Greek word as τοιόσδε as an unusual word, because not found in the LXX. This argument might well be transferred to a book on Logic, as an illustration for a chapter on fallacies. In order to make the logic good, we must supply a suppressed premise, which Dr. Abott will scarcely venture to assert, viz. that the only two sorces whence 2 Peter could have drawn his Greek were the LX:. and Josephus, so that whatever he did not get from the one must have been taken from the other. But every one of the New Testament writers was using Greek every day of his life and it is absurd to suppose that the men of that day limited heir vocabulary to that of the LXX., any more than in our aily conversation we limit ours to that of the English Bible. There is none of the New Testament writers who does not more or less frequently step outside the Biblical limits, and enter into those of secular, and even classical Greek. But if the charge of Babooism brought against 2 Peter be well founded, he, of all others, might be expected to be least likely to confine himself to Biblical limits. For in the sense of our discussion a Baboo means one with an extensive literary and very little practical knowledge of a language. 2 Pete is sup posed to have got up his Greek from solitary reading: he is censured for the number of words he uses, which are neither found in the O. T. nor in Josephus; so that Dr. Abbott is the last who ought to ask us to believe that it was to these two books he confined his studies.

But, indeed, I must give up the attempt to save Dr. Abbott's logic; for he does not himself pretend that 2 Peter's reading was limited to the books just named, part of his indictment being that our author was also indebted to Phio. Dr. Abbott, indeed, has worked this vein rather superficially; for there is a whole host of 2 Peter's rare words in Philo -  ὁ προφητικός λόγος, ἐπίλυσις, ἐμπορεῦομαι, ὑπόδειγμα, ἄθεσιος, ἅλωσις and παρανομία in close neighbourhood (De Mos. 1. 1:7); ἐντρυφᾶν, ζόφος, ὗπέρογκα, δελεάζων, στοιχεῖα, ῥοῖζος, ἀμιθία, ἰσότιμος (De Sac. Ab. et Cain, p. 165; as in 2 Pet., equal in value, not, as in Josephus, to whom Dr. Abbott refers the word, equal in privilege); and, if anyone thinks it important to add it, τοιόσδε.

For my purpose it is immaterial to discuss whether the possession of a common vocabulary proves that 2 Peter copied Philo. There is no reason why the Apostle Peter might not have been indebted to Philo. Eusebius (ii. 17) repeats a story that had reached him, that, in the reign of Claudius, Peter and Philo had been at Rome at the same tine, and had conversed with each other. Eusebius accepts the story as true, and believes that Philo then learned from Peter many things about Christianity. I do not myself believe that Peter visited Rome at so early a time; but Philo's embassy to Caligula is a historical fact. It is rational to believe that Philo, on his visit to Rome, had much intercourse with the Jewish colony in that city; and that his writings would thenceforward, if not before, be well known to the Jews in Rome; and might, to a certain extent, influence their vocabulary. But when we find Philonic words in N. T. writers we are not bound to believe either that they took them directly from Philo, or even that Philo was the first to use these words. I have already protested against Dr. Abbott's tacit assumption that the linguistic sphere of the contemporaries of 2 Peter is adequately represented by the meager remains still extant in the LXX., even including the Apocryphal books. To complete that sphere we must include the works of Philo, which are a most valuable addition to our knowledge of the theological language of the Jews of the Apostolic age. But, though Philo may have enlarged that language, he did not create it. It follows that coincidences of a New Testament writer with Philo are not necessarily proofs of borrowing.

But I have no interest now in contesting that point; for I am surprised that Dr. Abbott had not acuteness to see that, in endeavouring to establish 2 Peter's obligation to Philo, he was doing his best to demolish his own case.20 Josephus admired Philo, and notoriously copied him (Diet. Chr. Biog., iii. 452). The preface to the Antiquities of Josephus, which Dr. Abbott supposes to have served as a model to 2 Peter, is itself derived from the opening of De Opif. Mund. of Philo. When we turn to the latter passage, among the first things to catch the eye is one of the phrases Peter is accused of bor rowing from Josephus. The πλαστοῖς λόγοις of 2 Pet. ii. 3 is alleged to be derived from the πλασμάτων of Josephus; but, in the corresponding passage of Philo, we have μυθικοῖς πλάσμασιν, and within a few lines μύθους πλασάμενος. It is not clear to me that Peter's phrase was derived either from Josephus or Philo; but, in any case, if Josephus steals from Philo, how can he claim exclusive rights of proprietorship as against Peter? Why are we to suppose that Peter took from the stream, when he could as easily have drawn from the fountain head?

We are now in a position to deal with Dr. Abbott's list of coincidences. We first strike out coincidences in common place words; for the whole force of the argument from coincidences depends on the rarity of the words employed. Dr. Abbott begins by inducing his readers to grant that two writers, who both employ the phrase golden sleep, probably do not so independently. On the strength of that concession, he assumes that, if two writers both happen to say I think it right, one must have borrowed from the other. We next strike out of Dr. Abbott's lists words that occur elsewhere N. T., or LXX.; for even one such occurrence proves that the word lay in Peter's linguistic sphere, and therefore that his use of it needs no explanation. Such words are ἔξοδος for decease (Luke ix. 31: not used in Josephus absolutely, but with the addition of τοῦ ζῇν); μεγαλειότης (Luke ix. 43: see also Acts xix. 27; Jer. xxxiii. (xl.) 9); ἐφ̓ ὅσον (according to Dr. Abbott, not elsewhere N. T., but actually in precisely the same way, Matt. ix. 15; not as in Josephus with the addition of χρόνον, but so three times by St. Paul); μῦθος (four times in the Pastoral Epistles; common in Philo); θεῖος (nine times in LXX.); μέλλω (in the μελλήσω of 2 Pet. i. 12 there is a difficulty, both of reading and interpretation; in the οὐ μέλλω of Josephus, a common Greek word is used in the most common place way). I think it needless to give references for εὐσέβεια, καταφρονέω, παρών, or δύναμις (!).

The combinations of words on which Dr. Abbott lays stress are also of the most commonplace character. One of the most remarkable is ᾧ καλῶς ποιεῖτε προσέχοντες, to which there is a parallel in Josephus. But καλῶς ποιεῖν, with a participle, is common N. T. (Acts x. 33; Phil. iv. 14; 3 John 6); and προσέχω is also a common word; and that two common words should happen to be combined is a matter calling for no remark. So also μύθοις ἐξακολουθήσαντες. Ἐξακολουθέω occurs four times in the LXX., and seems to be a favourite with our author, who uses it three times; and we have seen that it is a mistake to treat μῦθος as an uncommon word. In Josephus there are two various readings, and it is not certain that ἐξακολουθέω is his word at all. I count it needless to discuss γινώσκειν ὅτι or δίκαιον ἡγεῖσθαι. Nor need I notice alleged coincidences in which there is no resemblance. Thus, Dr. Abbott swells his list by pointing out that Josephus has the word ἐάλωτοι; 2 Peter, in quite a different sense and context, εἰς ἅλωσιν. Another case, in which 2 Peter certainly took singular pains to disguise his theft, is that, in Dr. Abbott's opinion, he derived θείας κοινωνοὶ φύσεως (i. 4.) from μακρὰς κοινωνοὶ ταλαιπωρίας in Josephus. But if 2 Peter was incapable of constructing such a clause for himself, he had a much nearer model in Philo's λογικῆς κεκοινωνήκασι φύσεως (De Somn. i. p. 647).

When Dr. Abbott's lists have been thus weeded of futilities, and I come to inquire what Archdeacon Farrar refers to as startling and unusual words, or, as he calls them, hapax legomena found in two authors, I can think but of two cases that 2 Peter uses ἀρετή concerning the excellence of God; and that he speaks of the divine nature θεία φύσις. But we have τὰς ἀρετάς concerning God in the First Epistle (ii. 9); and if it had been Dr. Abbott's object to prove that it was thence 2 Peter derived the word, he would, no doubt, have laid stress on the fact that in both places it occurs in immediate connexion with the verb καλέω, used concerning God's call of His people. The word is similarly used O. T., Is. xlii. 8, 12, xliii. 21, on which latter passage that of 1 Peter is based; and in the singular, Hab. iii. 3. But in Philo the word, both singular and plural, is repeatedly used of God. Thus: περὶ θεοῦ καὶ τῶν ἀρετῶν αὐτοῦ (Quis Rer. Div. Har. p. 488); and in the same page, τῆς θείας ἀρετῆςτὴς τὴν ἀκρότητα: and τὸ μέγεθος τῆς ἀρετῆς τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ (De Somn. I. p. 635). The word, then, plainly lay within Peter's linguistic sphere, and there is no pretence for saying that he needed to go to Josephus to learn it. And the same thing may be said about θεία φύσις, which is also a Philonic phrase: ᾔδει γὰρ τὴν φύσιν τοῦ θεοῦ (De Mos. ii. p. 143: see also De Spec. Legg. p. 343).

Thus, Dr. Abbott has completely failed to establish his theory: but I must add that it is a theory which it was never rational to try to establish. For what are the ways in which an author exhibits his use of another? (1) He may take his ideas from another, following out the same arguments, and using the same illustrations: (2) he may derive from his predecessor some word or combination of words, such as two writers would not be likely to employ independently: (3) he may resemble his predecessor generally in his phraseology; and such resemblance of vocabulary would, of course, not be confined to one particular passage of his author. But in this case, what we are asked to believe is, that 2 Peter prepared himself for his task by studying one page of Josephus, and then tried how many words out of that page he could manage to introduce when writing on quite different topics. Did ever forger proceed in such a way? If he did, he surely took for his model the author for whom he desired to pass, and not one his knowledge of whom it was his interest to conceal. I must, therefore, estimate Dr. Abbott's speculation at the same value as the ingenious proofs that have been given that the plays of Shakespeare were written by Lord Bacon, or the Epistles of Clement of Rome by Henry Stephens.21

It may seem that, however successful we are in refuting the charge that 2 Peter copied from Josephus, by showing that his obligations are more likely to have been to Philo, yet this very characteristic of the Second Epistle makes it impossible that it could have the same author as the First. I own that I felt some surprise on being taught by Dr. Gwynn that affinity with Philo is a point of likeness, not of unlikeness, between the two Petrine Epistles. I give some of his proofs. The references here and above are to the pages of Mangey's edition, (1) The word ἀναγεννάω seems to have been introduced into Christian theology by 1 Peter; it does not occur in any previous Greek author, but must have been known to Philo, who uses ἀναγέννησις (De Mund. Incorrup. p. 489; De Mund. p. 609). (2) Again, compare the vocabulary of the following two passages in 1 Peter: τὸ δοκίμιον τῆς πίστεως πολυτιμότερον χρυσίου τοῦ ἀπολλυμένου διὰ πυρὸς δὲ δοκιμαζομένου (i. 7); τὸ λογικὸν ἄδολον γάλα, (ii. 2; ἄδολος, here only N. T.; λογικός, only Rom. xii. 1); with Philo (Alleg. i. 59, in immediate connexion with τὸ λογὲικόν) ἡ φρόνησις ἣν εἵκασε χρυσίῳ ἀδόλῳ καὶ καθαρᾷ καὶ πεπυρωμένῃ καὶ δεδοκιμασμένῃ καὶ τιμίᾳ φύσει. Closely following, in Philo, we find two other Petrine words, ἄφθαρτος and ἀπονέμω (p. 61),the latter here only N. T. (3) οὗ φθαρτοῖς ἀργυρίῳ ἢ χρυσίῳ (1 Pet. i. 18); θησαυρὸν οὐκ ἐν ᾧ χρυσὸς καὶ ἄργυρος οὐσίαι φθαρταὶ κατάκεινται (De Cherub, i. p. 147). (4) ἐπὶ τὸν ἐπίσκοπον τῶν ψυχῶν (ii. 25, here only in this application N. T.); but in Philo, De Somn. i. 634) we have [Θεῷ] τῷ τῶν ὅλων ἐπισκόπῳ: and it may be added that in the same place Philo calls God τῶν ὅλων κτίστης, this title being given to the Almighty by 1 Peter (iv. 19), who alone of N. T. writers uses the word. (5) An O. T. citation is made with the formula περιέχει only N. T., in 1 Pet. ii. 6; but also in Philo, De Abr. ii. p. 1. (6) ὅπως τὰς ἀρετὰς ἐξαγγείλητε (ii. 9); here only N. T. The verb in the corresponding place in the LXX. Isaiah is διηγοῦμαι; but Philo (De Plant. Noe, p. 348) has ὃς τὰς [τῶν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἔργων] ὑπερβολὰς . . . ἐξαγγελεῖ. (7) The rare word ἀνάχυσις (1 Pet. iv. 4) occurs De Mundi Incorr. p. 507, and elsewhere.

It is plain that, if there be evidence to prove that 2 Peter copied from Philo, there is abundance of like evidence avail able for the conviction of 1 Peter. I will not undertake to say whether in either case direct obligation can be proved; and possibly some things which we might suppose to be peculiar to Philo, had previously formed part of current theological language. But, at the time the First Epistle was written, Philo is likely to have been, for a dozen years, the author most read by educated Jews at Rome; and, therefore, one who mixed in that circle, and engaged in its discussions, could hardly escape at least indirect influence from Philo. This may, perhaps, afford the simplest explanation of the Philonic colouring of the Epistle to the Hebrews. And Dr. Gwynn has noticed that even Paul's letters, written from Rome, present coincidences with Philo.22

I do not think it worth while to add some proofs with which Dr. Gwynn has furnished me, that the charge of copying from Josephus might be made with as much plausibility against the First Epistle as against the Second. But, certainly, the result of an examination of Dr. Abbott's argument has been to emphasize many points of latent resemblance between the two Epistles. If the Second Epistle copies from Jude, so does the First from St. Paul and St. James. Both letters have a good deal in common with the diction of the Graeco-Jewish literature represented for us by Philo and Josephus. They have peculiarities of language in common, including some objected to by Dr. Abbott as if only found in 2 Peter.23 And, as Dr. Lumby has well shown, it is characteristic of both to use striking and even startling expressions, and to introduce unusual and mysterious topics. On the whole, Dr. Abbott's Paper only serves to show how an able and accomplished scholar may go astray, when, on the strength of a comparative study of one New Testament book, and a few pages of one secular author, he attempts to draw conclusions which could not be safely maintained unless they had been founded on a thorough investigation of a much wider subject the relations of New Testament Greek to the written and spoken Greek of the Apostolic age.24



1) Τὴν δὲ φερομένην Πέτρον δευτέραν οὐκ ἐνδιάθηκον μὲν εἶναι. παρειλήφαμεν· ῧμως δὲ πολλοῖς χρήσιμος φανεῖσα, μετὰ τῶν ἄλλων ἐσπουόάπθη γραφῶν (Euseb. iii. 3).

Simon Petrus . . . scripsit duas Epistolas quae canonicae [Catholicae] nominantur; quarum secunda a plerisque ejus esse negatur, propter styli cum priore dissonantiam (Hieron. De Viris Illust. i).

2) The solitary instance adduced to prove his acquaintance with 2 Pet. ii. 22, ἔοικεν τῷ κυνὶ πρός τόν ἴδιον ἔμετον ἐπανιόντι (in Joann. Horn. xxxiv. 3), is really derived from Prov. xxvi. n, the word in 2 Peter being ἐξέραμα, not ἔμετον. The same proverb, also with ἔμετον, is the only apparent sign of acquaintance with the four Epistles I find in the index to Theodoret (In Dan. iii. i). But Chrysostom's friend, Basil, uses 2 Peter (adv. Eunom. v. i); and we are bound to remember that the absence of quotations may be explained by the fact that, of the four Epistles in question, three are extremely short, and the fourth not very long.

3) Consequently, Junilius has commonly passed for an African bishop himself, until his true history was tracked out by Kihn (Theodor von Mopsuestia, 1880).

4) The prologue to the Catholic Epistles, printed as Jerome s, is not genuine.

5) It is natural to set down Mark as one of them, and it has been conjectured that Glaucias may have been the other; but this suggestion is derived from an authority not entitled to much respect, namely, the heretic Basilides, who claimed to have received traditions from an interpreter of Peter so called (Clem. Alex. Strom, vii. 17).

6) Quoting it with the formula Πέτρος ἐν τῇ ἐπιστολῇ, which, when used by earlier writers in a citation from the First Epistle^ is commonly taken for an implied rejection of the Second.

7) The two earliest existing MSS., which probably are as early as the reign of Constantine, both include the seven Catholic Epistles. So does the Claromontane list, the original of which Westcott believes to be as old as the third century. In Codex B (where, as is customary, the Catholic Epistles follow the Acts) there is a twofold division of sections, an older and a later. In 2 Peter alone the older division of sections is wanting; from which it may be inferred that this Epistle was wanting in an ancestor of the Vatican MS.

8) The evidence will be found in Westcott (N. T. Canon, p. 261). We have no Latin MSS. containing a pre-Hieronymian text of 2 Peter; nor indeed of any of the Catholic Epistles except James, and a small fragment of 3 John. The remark above applies to the Vulgate, the text of which no doubt represents an earlier translation merely revised by Jerome.

9) In favour of the Petrine origin may be noticed that in the next chapter Justin has words which recall 2 Peter ii. 1, ὅνπερ δὲ τρόπον καὶ ψευδοπροφῆται ἐπὶ τῶν παῤ ὑμῖν γενομένων ἁγίων προφητῶν ἦσαν, καὶ παῤ ἡμῖν νῦν πολλοί εἰσι και ψευδοδιδάσκαλοι.

10) It must be borne in mind that Rabbinical writers (see Schöttgen, Horce Heb. et Talmud. I. 1052, ii. 497) have both the interpretations used by Barnabas and by Justin. We have, therefore, to choose whether we shall hold that the Jews derived these from the Christian Church, or shall admit that Barnabas may have derived his principle from a source different from 2 Peter.

11) The words are much nearer to Peter than either to John viii. 34, or Rom. vi. 16.

12) Dr. Quarry has pointed out to me that in the Clementine Homilies (xix. 20) τοὐναντίον μακροθυμεῖ, εἰς μετάνοιαν καλεῖ taken in connexion with the whole context, there is very probably a use of 2 Peter iii. 9.

13) The identity of certain portions of the prophecies of Isaiah and of Micah is a fact of the same kind.

14) Compendium Graecum N. T. (Preface),

15) In addition to the above, the salutation χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη πληθυνθείη is common to the two Petrine Epistles. Jude alone has πληθυνθείη in the salutation; and, if we were forced to choose between the explanations, that the author of 1 Peter used Jude, or that Jude used 2 Peter, the latter explanation seems the more probable.

16) The bulk to which this volume has swelled induces me to abridge a discussion on which I feel that in the former editions I had spent more pages than it was worth; but I then examined with some minuteness Dr. Abbott's proofs of his thesis, and I showed that a number of the words and locutions which he characterized as out-of-the-way or improper are only so as not being found in the Greek books now commonly read in schools, but can be paralleled in the works of later Greek authors. In the course of centuries languages are liable to change, and judgments formed on a thorough knowledge of one period may be quite inapplicable to another. A critic whose knowledge of English had been derived from a study of Addison and Swift, might, if he met a page of Carlyle s, or a poem of Browning s, confidently pronounce it to be the work of a foreigner. And the same style of criticism which Dr. Abbott applies to the Greek of 2 Peter would equally prove that Tertullian had no vernacular knowledge of Latin, and used a vocabulary consisting partly of words of his own invention, partly of phrases pedantically introduced from little-read authors.

17) I may add that the readers of the Second Epistle are assumed to be in possession of a collection of Pauline letters, which would lead us to think of the Epistle as later than the Acts of the Apostles.

18) The question is one which must be decided by arguments, not by authorities; but I may mention that I have never had the discomfort of feeling myself quite alone in my opinion. In the first place, the two or three most striking coincidences adduced by Dr. Abbott are stock quotations from Josephus, used for the illustration of 2 Peter by commentators who never thought of founding on them a charge of borrowing. Next, I have been allowed to use an unpublished criticism of Dr. Abbott's Paper, by Dr. Quarry, who takes the same view of it that I have done. And he states that his opinion was shared by the late Bishop Fitz Gerald. Through the kindness of Dr. Sanday, I have become acquainted with an able American criticism of Dr. Abbott's Paper, by Dr. Warfield, which appeared in the Southern Presbyterian Review. And lastly, Dr. Gwynn, who was kind enough to examine into this matter for my assistance, arrived independently at the same conclusions as I had done; and has given me many additional reasons for holding them.

19) I am sorry to find from an article in the Expositor (Jan. 1 888) that Archdeacon Farrar is much hurt by the suggestion that he had not examined the passages in situ. I can only say that the suggestion was not unkindly or insincerely made. I thought too well of his critical ability to believe it to be possible that if he had carefully looked into the matter he could have made the assertions, the erroneousness of which I expose on the next page. On the other hand, an error of haste seemed to me very probable; for my admiration of the high qualities of the Archdeacon's work is constantly tempered by the reflection, how much still better the work might have been if the author had only taken a little more pains with it and spent a little more time on it. Indeed a plausible case might be made out that Archdeacon Farrar had not taken the trouble of reading the pages of this book which he undertakes to answer; for he so completely ignores all my arguments that I now find nothing more necessary in the way of reply than to reprint without alteration what I had said.

20) Dr. Abbott's idea is that the theory that 2 Peter had borrowed from Josephus would become more probable if it could be proved that this author was a habitual borrower, destitute of all originality. It is scarcely a paradox to say that, on the contrary, this author was so original, that he hardly knew how to borrow when he tried. If he were not Peter, it was his business to borrow from the First Epistle; but he scarcely makes an attempt. He knew the Old Testament history, yet he has extremely little of Old Testament language. He had read St. Paul's letters; but we should not have been able to prove it if he had not told us; and yet we can distinctly trace the use of Paul's writings in the First Epistle, though it does not mention Paul. And if he used Jude's Epistle, he exercises great freedom in departing from his original.

21) I refer here to the Proteus Peregrinus of Mr. Cotterill, a writer after Dr. Abbott's own heart, who employs the same methods, but with greater audacity. He shows that, not only the Epistles of Clement, but the tract of Lucian De Morte Peregrini, the Epistle to Diognetus, large portions of the Bibliotheca of Photius, and several other works supposed to be ancient, are all modern forgeries. When it is objected to him that the Epistles of Clement are found in the Alexandrian MS., in the MS. lately found at Constantinople, and in a Syriac translation, he owns that these facts do present a certain difficulty; but declares that if the difficulty were ten times as great, it would not be as great as the improbability that the coincidences he has pointed out could be accidental (p. 318). Reversing his argument, I draw from his book a confirmation of my view, that coincidences as close as any Dr. Abbott instances, and far more numerous, are found in cases where borrowing is demonstrably impossible.

22) (l.) Philipp. iii. 12: οὐχ ὅτι ἤδη . . . τετελείωμαι, διώκω δὲ . . . εἷς τὸ Βμαβεῖαν.

= Philo, Alleg. iii. p. 101: ὅταν τελειωθῇς καὶ Βραβείων καὶ στεφάνων ἂξιωθῇς (both of death).


(2.) ib. iii. 20: ἡμῶν ’γὰρ τὸ πολίτευμα ἐν σῦρανηῖς ὑπάρχει.

= Philo, De Conf. Lingg. p. 41 6: [the souls of the wise] ἐπανέρχονται ἐκεῖσε πάλιν ὅθεν ὁρμήθησαν, πατρίδα μὲν τὶνν οὐράνιον χῶραν ἐν ᾧ πολιτεύονται, ξένον δὲ τὸν περίγεισν ἐν ᾧ παρῴκησαν, νομίζουσαι.

Also De Joseph, p. 51: ἐφιέμενος ἐγγραφεῖσθαι ἐν τῷ μεγίστῳ καὶ ἀρίστῳ πολιτεύματι τοῦδε τοῦ κόσμου,


(3.) Coloss. i. 15: ὅς ἐστιν εἰκὼν τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ἀοράτων, πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως.

= Philo, De Mundi Opif., p. 6: τὸν δὲ ἀόρατον καὶ νοητὴν θεῖον λόγων εἰκόνα λέγει Θεοῦ.

To which add De Somn. i. p. 653:. . . ὅ κόσμος ἐν ᾧ καὶ ἀρχιερεύς, ὁ πρωτόγονος αὒτοῢ θεῖος λόγος. Cf. Heb. i. 6, ii. 17.

23) Bunsen (Christianity and Mankind, v. 36), in a vain attempt to discredit 1 Peter, argues from the close resemblance which he finds between it and 2 Peter, and which he tries to establish by enumerating several thoughts and expressions common to both.

24) Quite lately Mommsen has published (Hermes, xxi. 142) from a MS. in the Phillips Library at Cheltenham a previously unknown stichometrical catalogue of the books of the Bible, and also of the writings of Cyprian. The list had been made in Africa in the year 359. It gives the Gospels in the order: Matthew, Mark, John, Luke. Then follow, in a singular order, the Epistles of Paul, among which that to the Hebrews is not counted, the Acts, the Apocalypse, and, lastly, the Catholic Epistles, as follows:

epl̅a̅e lohannis III. u̅r̅ CCCCL.
una sola.

epl̅a̅e Petri II. v̅e̅r̅ CCC.
una sola.

Zahn considers the una sola as a protest made by one who held to an older tradition, which in each case acknowledged only one Epistle. But I am disposed to agree with Harnack, that we ought to supply Judae in the first case, and Jacobi in the second; since the Epistles of Jude and James come in the respective places in the Claromontane list.